The furore which has erupted in the last day or so revolves around Donald Trump’s latest accusation, this time hurled at his predecessor Barack Obama.
He claims, over Twitter, Barack Obama had his phones tapped in a “Nixon/Watergate” style conspiracy. I mean, what a “Bad (or sick) guy!”.
The US media had a field trip with their online headlines: The New York Times lead with “Trump, Offering No Evidence, Says Obama Tapped His Phones”; the Chicago Tribune with “Trump cites no evidence in wiretapping claim; Obama spokesman calls it ‘simply false'”; and the Washington Post with “Trump, citing no evidence, accuses Obama of ‘Nixon/Watergate’ plot to wiretap Trump Tower”.
Call me Inspector Gadget or not, but I get the feeling there is a common theme running through each of these headlines – that, or someone is telling everyone what to write (but then I sound like Donald Trump).
After the fires died down a little, it was alleged Donald Trump got his information, not from one of his aides, but from Breitbart News, a far-right global news organisation.
A few weeks ago a video emerged from The David Pakman Show, positing the notion Donald Trump might not be able to read, but also this from Tony Schwartz:
That’s why he so prefers TV as his first news source – information comes in easily digestible sound bites. I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his entire adult life.
It is thus possible to conclude Donald Trump’s attention span is a passing fancy, perhaps blown out of his cotton candy hair by a passing breeze. We can narrow this reasoning down to a few factors:
- The above quote and belief which attests Donald Trump finds it difficult to read and concentrate for any length of time, to the point he gets his security briefings bullet-pointed for him;
- His apparent over-reliance on backwater news websites and TV programmes;
- His exploitation of Twitter, both for consumption and use.
During press conferences it has become increasingly apparent Trump is often very easily drawn from subject to subject, barely able to fully flesh out ideas or listen to the end of questions before flying off in a completely different direction.
And this recent allegation of his use of Breitbart News does not stop there, with a number of political pundits theorising Trump gets a lot of his information from similar websites, such as Fox News’ online presence or Gateway Pundit.
Indeed, most of the crowd left after the mass media exodus/banishment from his press conferences were from such right-wing news outlets. To say Donald Trump likes to make sure his message goes to “his people” would be laughably obvious.
And, finally, as John Sopel said on Andrew Marr on Sunday: “It’s hard to describe what it’s like living in the US at the moment, where you wake up and you think, ‘I wonder what he’s said now'”.
Donald Trump’s access to his mobile phone must be the biggest head ache to his aides. Sean Spicer, where previously no one would know the name of the White House Press Secretary, is now front and centre of the Trump administration, often sweeping up the mess left behind the president’s latest Twitter debacles.
His overuse and reliance on the 140 characters of Twitter yet again reinforces this idea he is unable to stay focused on any one thing at a time. Between his barrage of tweets to Barack Obama, Trump paused for breath to actually tweet about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s departure from the US The Apprentice.
Schwarzenegger retorted, citing he had voluntarily stepped aside because of the “baggage” attached to the show – id est Donald.
It isn’t the first time Trump has levelled conspiracies against people, as he seems to be pulled in any direction by the things he hears first.
These are all highly problematic for a president. Inability to even stay on topic for anything more than 30 seconds is proving to be challenging for Donald Trump, and to be leader of the free world with that kind of mentality is concerning.
Even down to his inability to use any other negative word than “bad” just blows the mind: Obama is a “bad” guy; nuclear energy and uranium is “bad”; Schwarzenegger is “bad”; there are lots of “bad” people.
Trouble is, this is all quite straightforward talking, meaning – just as Trump consumes items in easily understandable and condensed chunks – he regurgitates them likewise, and it appears a lot of his supporters like that.